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PassionateChef

Tipping at expensive restaurants

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Hi, I am new to this website and I'm not even sure if this is the right section for this post.

Suppose if I go to a 200$/person restaurant.

10 people @ 200$ = 2000$ bill.

The food/service is great, should we still tip 15% (300$)??

Regardless of the food/service, 300$ is an crazy sum and no waiter in the world deserves 300$ for bringing out food.

Should we just tip 150-200$ (300$ thats WAY more than any 'waiter' deserves considering , doctors/dentists don't even make 300$/hr)

When I go to a 50$/person restaurants I usually tip around 20%, which comes down to 20$ for a 100$ meal for 2.

Is there a ''cap''? I understand paying 20% when the bill is reasonable. Is it normal to pay 300$ just for a waiter when you are already paying 2000$ for food? He should be happy with 200$, no?

Just want to know when I go to a really high end restaurant, I don't want to be rude but there has to be a limit of how much a waiter should get regardless of how pricey the bill is? Your opinion? Does the waiter really keep all the tip to himself?

(I'm 23, and never been out at a top top quality restaurant, does the rule of thumb if you can't afford 15% then don't eat, still apply in a 2000$ bill, or is 200$ plenty of dough for an waiter who probably hasn't graduated from college)


Edited by PassionateChef (log)

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You really ought to go take a look over here at this thread. It's about a more specific situation, but a lot of what you're asking about is answered there.

More than likely, a party of 10 persons would already have a gratuity of 15-18% tacked on to it, whether it's an expensive restaurant or not. And there's no way in hell ten people can eat a $200/person meal in an hour, so that waiter isn't making $300/hr. no matter how you try to slice that. It's likely that you and your group will be the waiter's only table that evening. He's not keeping it all himself, he's probably tipping out a busser, the bar, a food runner and possibly a backwaiter, sommelier, a captain and a host depending on the staffing structure of that restaurant. And I highly doubt that a waiter that's not out of college yet would have the breadth of experience to work in a place where the guest checks run $200/person. You shouldn't be basing your tips on whether it's "plenty of dough for the waiter" or not. With all due respect, your youth is showing when you say things like that. Read the other thread, and tip based on service. Service for a "fancy" meal requires a lot more skill than service in a bistro. I can't pay my dentist/doctor/candlestick maker what I think he deserves, I have to pay the bill he hands me. Tips are effectively and functionally a part of wages in this system, so figure out how you feel about that, and if you can't afford to go out, then perhaps you should stick to places where the total bill with a reasonable tip will be within your budgetary constraints.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Thx for the wise reply, you are 100% right and I'm totally wrong.

In my state of drunkenness i overlooked that we would be there for 3 hours, and he would have to be checking up constantly on us, and not be able to attend the other tables. I always tip 15-20% by the way, how embarassing to even make a controverial post about tipping 10% at fine dining! :wub: (This is what happens when you are drunk and bored at 3am on a weekday)

Ya, this has nothing to do with my budget I can afford it.

I'm planning to go with a group of friends to Chef Gordon Ramsey's restaurant in the summer, ill tip 15-20% no doubt.


Edited by PassionateChef (log)

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two things factor into this i think

1. the staff to diner ratio increases with higher end restaurants. i was reading an article about the fat duck the other day where they mentioned that their staff per shift tended to be greater than the number of covers on that shift.

2. the level of training and experience required to work at the higher levels is much higher. while it is true that a good waiter can be quickly trained on the service aspects, the amount of knowledge needed for higher end places can be staggering. the different types of foods/ingredients/changes to the menus are enormous. in addition, staff need to know how to accomodate changes/allergies/special food requests and answer questions on wine/drinks i could go on and on.

as a result of both of these, the waiters are not getting proportionately more of the type of tip you are mentioning.

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Your tip percentage shouldn't change based on the amount of the bill.

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Howzabout we chalk up your post to a (self-described) drunken momentary lapse of reason? :rolleyes: It seems on further inspection you you understand what I was talking about.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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The answer to your question will also vary depending on the country the restaurant is in, as tipping systems vary. As stated, in the US 15-20 % would be expected on the price of the bill.

I don't want to get off topic but wanted to clarify the question

is 200$ plenty of dough for an waiter who probably hasn't graduated from college?
In any good restaurant I have worked in (in a major US city that is), the waiters are quite educated. I have worked with many waiters who have a masters and even higher degrees, so I would be careful to assume that waiters are uneducated.

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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I don't want to get off topic but wanted to clarify the question
is 200$ plenty of dough for an waiter who probably hasn't graduated from college?
In any good restaurant I have worked in (in a major US city that is), the waiters are quite educated. I have worked with many waiters who have a masters and even higher degrees, so I would be careful to assume that waiters are uneducated.

We're already off-topic from the original question, so why not go further? :biggrin:

The highly-educated waiters to whom you refer--is their education related to their employment? And do they think of their employment as their life vocation, or at least their profession?

In my limited experience, waitstaff at high-end restaurants in the US and Canada are not as highly trained as those in Europe or Asia. but I also think the guests don't expect as much, or perhaps expect different things, from the waitstaff.

I would be far more willing to tip a larger percentage to someone who was educated (or well-trained) in the job, and who considered the job to be their profession (and behaved accordingly). But I see that kind of attitude far more outside North America than within, yet I am expected to tip more in North America than elsewhere.

Aside from having to boost their low wages, why is that?

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